Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) took win number five of the season on home turf at MotorLand Aragon, picking off his rivals on the way to the front to make some serious gains as key contenders Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) finished off the podium. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) sliced through to second, and Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) made it a Spanish trio on the podium at home as he led from the front before eventually crossing the line in third – his second podium in red.
Lorenzo took the holeshot from pole, shooting away into the lead and leaving Viñales to head the chasing group before teammate Valentino Rossi struck and set off after the Ducati in the lead. With the number 25 heading wide soon after, that let both Dovizioso and Marquez move past – and the front four were able to pull away.
Viñales was at the head of the second group and stalked by Pedrosa as Rossi was able to close in on the Ducati in the lead. As it remained impossible to call, Marquez attacked the ‘Doctor’ and headed too deep – even cutting up the inside of Lorenzo as he briefly shot into P1 and then into the run off. But the number 93 recovered quickly and made the move stick on the number 46 at the final corner, then able to duel past Lorenzo to take the lead and his fifth win of the year.
Pedrosa had taken Viñales at Turn 1 and was able to reel in Rossi and then Lorenzo with some signature stunning pace despite his second row start, with the Movistar Yamaha duo then left to fight it out for fourth. Hard racing didn’t give away a recently broken leg for Rossi, but Viñales was able to push his way past and at least limit the damage in the standings.
Just behind Rossi over the line, the fight for sixth was won by Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) at the venue where he took his first premier class podium, as the Spaniard impressively held off Dovizioso in the latter stages – who in turn defended seventh from Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) after struggling more in the latter stages of the race.
Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) took ninth after a more difficult weekend including a trip through Q1, ahead of Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) completing the top ten for the Austrian factory – making steady progress for another impressive result. Impressive was also an adjective for the man behind him, wildcard and teammate Mika Kallio, who took P11 after going straight through to Q2 on Saturday.
Motegi changed everything in 2016. Now the paddock returns to the Japanese venue after a very different season – but it’s Marquez ahead once again. With four races to go, however, it’s anyone’s game.
MotoGP Race Results
1 – Marc Marquez (SPA – Honda) 42’06.816
2 – Dani Pedrosa (SPA – Honda) +0.879
3 – Jorge Lorenzo (SPA – Ducati) +2.028
1st Independent Team Rider:
6 – Aleix Espargaró (SPA – Aprilia) +6.962